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Fabulous to Scandalous: 21st Century Fur

Recently, anti-fur protests hit the streets of London. There has also been a surprising diversion against fur in the fashion industry. Marco Bizzarri, Gucci CEO announced that from 2018, the brand will no longer be using fur as it is not ‘modern’ and instead ‘outdated’. I believe these comments from the fashion powerhouse were insensitive and inappropriate regarding the animals killed for their fur.

Despite also saying at a talk in London College of Fashion, “we will continue to strive to do better for the environment and animals”, I am still not convinced that this was in their best interest. As much as it is a business, fashion is dynamic, and trends are hardly settled, hence to call it outdated is to call it out of fashion. Nonetheless, Gucci sets the bar high for other luxury brands to condemn real fur, re-represent what they stand for and strive for considerable change.

Fur has been a timeless material dating back to the early evolution of man where it was no more than a piece of material. Over centuries, it has evolved to become a symbol of social stratification. As early as the 13th century, it was worn by royalty to represent their wealth and power. It is no doubt, fur is viewed the same way today. Carol Dyhouse argues in Skin Deep: The Fall of the Fur, how a “fur coat became a defining quality of femininity”. It is staggering how fur can shape female fashion and create an ‘archetype’ on femininity. Hollywood stars such as Marilyn Monroe and A

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The People of Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) are the largest animal rights organisation in the world. On their website, there are overwhelming statistics and articles about the inconsiderate treatment of animals for their fur. In Nine Fur Facts one worrying fact was how steel jaw traps are legal in 43 states in the USA. These devices of violence cause excruciating pain and leave animals dehydrated and starving for days.

Earlier this year, there was also a scandal involving major online store Missguided for apparent use of cat fur on one of their heels. Mislabelling and misbranding is due to a lack of compliance, because it is their responsibility to have been more aware. To tackle this, retailers need to ensure that factories and companies sourcing their products are cruelty free, reliable and in constant contact with the brand to avoid outrage amongst customers, and shock and humiliation within the brand.

Jakke is a London based business who offer “a cool alternative to fur and leather”. Their contemporary and vintage styles combined with the eccentric use of colour, offers a new wave of ethical fashion for urban cultures. What is typically exclusive to the ‘rich’ is appealing to younger women, whilst educating the importance of being Free From Fur.

There are numerous issues in our world today, but one which shouldn’t be swept under the carpet are animal rights. They may seem underwhelming regarding the current crisis the world is in, but animal rights are still rights. It’s that simple.

“our task must be to free ourselves by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures.” – Einstein


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